Australia — really?
A few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised after I turned on my computer, and opened my email to find that someone who lives in Australia had written to me. I frequently get email recipes from readers in Mayfair, Bustleton or Langhorne. But an email from Australia — this was a first. So now I have a pen pal (email pal), Elizabeth, who appreciates cooking and new recipes as much as I do. Her internet search for a brownie recipe found my recipe and email address.
Elizabeth graciously shared her great-grandmother’s recipe for Pavlova, and wrote, “…I haven’t altered a thing as I feel it’s perfect the way it is.” This recipe has been her family’s favorite since 1929. This dessert is very popular in Australia and also New Zealand. It is named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.
There are “rules,” Elizabeth says, “for making a good Pav, firstly pre-heat your oven as hot as you can make it — you want HOT!! Make sure that you use a well-cleaned glass or ceramic bowl that’s been cleaned twice to make sure there’s no oil residue. Finally, even the smallest amount of egg yolk will destroy a good Pav mix.”
“A good Pavlova is a must at almost any Aussie (pronounced Ozzie – like in Mozzie) get together, party or BBQ. Christmas would almost fail to be without the obligatory Pav!”
ELIZABETH’S GRANDMOTHER’S MARSHMALLOW PAVLOVA
6 egg whites – must be at room temperature
1½ cups caster sugar (superfine sugar)
(If you cannot find caster sugar, put 2 cups granulated sugar in a blender or food processor and process until the sugar crystals are reduced to a very fine grain. Measure the 1½ cups and set aside. Use the remainder to sweeten the whipping cream, or use in tea.)
1½ tsp. vinegar (white)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Preheat oven as hot as it can go.
Draw an 11- to 12-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. Turn the parchment paper upside down, so the pencil markings are facing down, and place it on a pizza tray. Set aside.
In a large, clean, glass or ceramic bowl, beat the egg whites until “stiff peak” stage (about 4-6 minutes) on the highest setting for your beaters. Slowly add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time – this is KEY! Continue beating on high.
Beat for a further 10 minutes (yes, 10 minutes) until all the sugar has been dissolved. Turn off the beaters and, using your finger and thumb, rub a small amount of mixture to test for a smooth meringue without any grainy sugar.
Turn the beaters to low, and add the vinegar and cornstarch. Slowly beat until well incorporated.
Turn off beaters, and carefully remove as much mixture as you can with a metal spoon (which has been cleaned twice and well dried). Don’t tap the beaters on the bowl, as this removes the air from the Pav! Carefully spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper, and stay within the circle.
Place the Pavlova in the pre-heated oven, and turn the heat down to 200 degrees. Bake for 1 hour.
Turn the heat off, and leave in the oven for a further hour.
Finally, open the open door so it’s ajar and leave until cool.
The Pavlova should be smothered with fruit and cream!!!
Top with Freshly Whipped Cream
1½ cups whipping cream beat until soft peaks form, then gradually add reserved sugar (to taste) and 1 tsp vanilla. Continue to beat until reaching desired consistency.
Pile on loads of fresh fruit — Passionfruit, strawberries, and kiwifruit are a must, as they break through the sweetness of the Pav.
(Because ripe passion fruit was unavailable, I used kiwi, star fruit, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.)
Serve straight away, as the crunchy meringue will go soggy if left too long.
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)
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